Hal McIntyre

Photo of Hal McIntyre
  • Born

    November 2, 1914
    Cromwell, Connecticut
  • Died

    May 5, 1959 (age 44)
    Los Angeles, California

Alto sax­o­phon­ist and band­leader Hal McIntyre worked with sev­eral lo­cal bands in his na­tive Connecticut be­fore form­ing his own eight-piece out­fit in 1935. In 1937, McIntyre was hired as a tem­po­rary re­place­ment in Benny Goodmans or­ches­tra. Though the job lasted for only ten days, he caught the ear of Glenn Miller, who was busy or­ga­niz­ing a new band. McIntyre be­came the first mu­si­cian hired for Miller’s group, only to see it break up af­ter a few months due to fi­nan­cial prob­lems. When Miller made an­other at­tempt in 1938, McIntyre signed on again. This time Miller suc­ceeded, and his or­ches­tra soon be­came the hottest band in the coun­try, with McIntyre an in­te­gral part of its now fa­mous sound.

McIntyre quickly be­came close friends with Miller, and in 1941 the band­leader con­vinced him to form his own group, of­fer­ing to back it fi­nan­cially. Billed as The Band That America Loves,” McIntyre’s or­ches­tra de­buted that same year at the Glen Island Casino. The group proved quite pop­u­lar and went on to play at many of the top venues around the coun­try, in­clud­ing at the Statler Hotel in Washington, D.C., for President Roosevelt’s Birthday Ball in 1945. Vocalists in­cluded Helen Ward, Gloria Van, Ruth Gaylor, Carl Denney, Terry Allen, and Al Nobel. Dave Matthews, Ralph Flanagan, and Howard Gibeling arranged. The or­ches­tra’s stand­out mu­si­cian was bassist Eddie Safranksi, who later went on to greater fame with Stan Kenton. Saxophonist Les Elgart also played with the band.

In 1945, McIntyre took his or­ches­tra over­seas on a USO spon­sored tour. He was forced to quickly hire sev­eral new mu­si­cians and went through sev­eral male vo­cal­ists when some of his men failed to meet the re­quire­ments for the trip. Don Darcy briefly be­came vo­cal­ist, re­plac­ing Jimmie Allen. Jimmy Cook then took the spot be­fore Frankie Lester fi­nally made the cut. This change in per­son­nel caused his sound to briefly suf­fer, though he man­aged to get the band into shape again by the time they re­turned to the states. The group re­mained to­gether into the 1950s, pro­vid­ing backup for the Mills Brothers 1952 hit Glow Worm.” Hal McIntyre died trag­i­cally in a house fire in 1959.

In his early years McIntyre had also played clar­inet but stuck ex­clu­sively to sax­o­phone while lead­ing his or­ches­tra.


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  • My Funny Valentine
    Hal McIntyre (Ruth Gaylor), Bluebird (1944)
  • I'm Making Believe
    Hal McIntyre (Ruth Gaylor), Bluebird (1944)
  • I'm in a Jam with Baby
    Hal McIntyre (Ruth Gaylor), Bluebird (1944)
  • There's No One But You
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), Cosmo (1946)
  • The Gypsy
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), Cosmo (1946)
  • Patience and Fortitude
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), Cosmo (1946)
  • The Man Who Paints the Rainbow
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), MGM (1947)
  • There's That Lonely Feeling Again
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), MGM (1947)
  • It Happened in Hawaii
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), MGM (1947)
  • I Can't Believe It Was All Make Believe
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), MGM (1947)
  • My Young and Foolish Heart
    Hal McIntyre (Frankie Lester), MGM (1947)

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  • Screenshot
    "St. Louis Blues"
    Hal McIntyre (Ruth Gaylor)
    From the feature film Sing Me a Song of Texas, Columbia (1945)

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Copyright owners, please see our removal policy.